Thursday, December 26, 2019

Chicken Update

After we moved to our new house, I posted this about our new chicken coop and pen:

All was well at first.  But after a while, chickens started disappearing.  We would let them out to free-range in the morning, but when we went out to shut them up in the coop that evening one would be missing.  After losing a couple of chickens, we quit letting them out of the pen.  They were NOT happy about this and would try to get out every time we opened the gate to the pen.  The pen was built with 6 foot dog fence panels and, since we always shut them up in the coop, we thought they would be safe.  After all, most critters that prey on chickens are nocturnal (or so we thought).  

One day we came home from a 4 hour trip to Oklahoma City to find 4 dead chickens in the pen and another one missing.  Whatever killed them got over the 6 foot fence in broad daylight.  This left us with only 2 chickens.  After reviewing our wildlife camera, the mystery was solved.  There was a picture of a bobcat that was taken during the day.  Obviously, we had to put wire over the top of the pen.  

This spring we basically had to start our flock over from scratch and decided on 2 breeds of chickens, Australorp and Americauna. We got six of each.  Here's a picture of them for comparison.

Australorps are solid black and lay brown eggs.  Americaunas are tan/gold/black colored and lay bluish, greenish eggs.  

Americaunas are interesting chickens because they have "whiskers".

We have begun letting them out for part of the day, usually in the afternoon.  So far, we've not lost any.  Hopefully, the bobcat has moved on. 

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Fall is Here

We've had crazy weather this fall.  It stayed really warm into October, a couple of light frosts, but not enough to kill most of our garden.  The tree leaves were not even beginning to turn color.  Then, suddenly we had a hard freeze.  Leaves just turned brown overnight.  Consequently, we had no fall color to speak of.  It was sort of sad.  Then, it warmed up again.  Then another hard freeze followed by a warm up.  However, I believe fall has finally arrived.  It is rainy today with a north wind blowing.

Before the first frost, I started bringing my outside plants inside.  I put most of them in our garage.  It is insulate and stays above freezing.  I'm hoping to sell most of the aloe vera plants this winter at the farmers market.  The market moves indoors during the winter and is only open Saturdays from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm.  

We have lemon grass in large cattle supplement tubs.  That we also brought into the garage.

After the freeze, we tilled under all the dead plants in the garden and planted cover crops.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

It's been a long year

I've not posted anything here in almost a year.  So much has happened.  It's been a whirlwind of a year.  Here's a short list: 

  • We moved to a new house that will accommodate our aging knees and other body parts.  This entailed the following:
    •  Moving our furniture and other belongings
    •  Building a new chicken pen and moving them
    •  Building new garden beds 
    •  Down sizing and getting rid of stuff
  •  Surgery which took a while from which to recover
  •  A death in the family
  •  A bobcat got into the chicken pen and decimated our flock.  We had to get new chicks this spring.  Basically had to start over from scratch.

I hope you can see why I have not posted anything in a good while.  I have posted to our Facebook page because I can post comments and pictures easily from my phone.  

We no longer attend our farmers' market regularly.  However, we were able to grow a lot of veggies for ourselves, family and neighbors.  We are still devoted to using organic methods in our garden.

For this post, I have copied some of the pictures and comments from our Facebook page.
My new favorite way to freeze peppers is to roast them first. Then slip skins off, de-seed and put in snack bags. I was able to fit 5 of these in a quart storage bag. When bell peppers are called for in a recipe, just open one of the snack bags and use a knife to hack off some and use in the recipe.

Here are some of the first eggs from our new flock of chickens.

The brown ones are from the Australorps, a breed of Australian origin that is solid black.  The blue/green one is from an Americauna, an American breed of domestic chicken developed in the United States in the 1970s, and derives from Araucana chickens brought from Chile.  I caught this picture of our new flock on one of our game cameras.